Just for the record: This is wallpaper music taken to a whole ...

Lifestyle

Just for the record: This is wallpaper music taken to a whole new level

A fortnightly review of music on vinyl

Andrew Donaldson

While they never achieved the commercial success or cultural clout of their closest rivals, Bob Marley and the Wailers, vocal trio Toots & the Maytals were nevertheless one of the pivotal forces in the history of Jamaican music. Like the Wailers, they thrived as ska gave way to rocksteady and then evolved even further in the late 1960s. In fact, it has been claimed that it was the Maytals’ 1968 hit single, Do The Reggay (Beverley’s Records/Pyramid), that gave this dynamic new music its very name.

Whatever the truth of that claim, there’s no denying that, in Toots Hibbert, the group had one of Jamaica’s most charismatic performers and one of reggae’s best singers, with a rich vocal style that was influenced by US soul icons like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. The musicians he fronted were no slouches either and, working with the island’s best producers, they recorded a number of reggae’s most crucial sides.

The reissue label, Music On Vinyl, has just re-released one their best albums, 1973’s Funky Kingston, a record so good that, two years later, it was released again — but as a completely different album. Both are brilliant...

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